Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in the first quarter of 2016 fell by 7%, compared to the same period of last year, to USD 2.14 billion and the trade gap declined by 2.5% year-on-year to USD 1.26 billion, according to figures released by the state statistics office on Tuesday.
Exports were down 11.9% year-on-year in the first three months of 2016 to USD 442.81 million.
Imports declined 5.1% y/y in the first quarter of this year to USD 1.7 billion.
Actual drop in value of imports was even larger, about 16.7%, if excluding one-off import of donated C hepatitis medicines, which stood at roughly USD 208 million in the first quarter.
After subtracting value of this one-off import, the trade gap last year was down by about 18.5% y/y to USD 1.05 billion.
Georgia’s trade turnover with EU-member states increased 11% y/y in the first quarter of 2016 to USD 712 million. But this increase was caused by one-off imports of medicines from Ireland and after subtracting it, the actual trade turnover stood at USD 503.8 million, a 20.9% decline compared to the first three months of 2015. Excluding one-offs, imports from the EU were down 15.8% y/y to USD 392.8 million in the first quarter.
Georgia’s exports to the EU declined 34.7% y/y to USD 111 million, accounting for about 25% of country’s total exports in the first three months of 2016, according to Geostat.
Trade turnover with Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) declined by 15% y/y to USD 574 million in the first quarter of 2016.
Georgia’s exports to CIS member states were down by 26% y/y to USD 129 million, accounting for 29% of country’s total exports. Imports from the CIS-member states were down by 11% y/y to USD 445 million, accounting for 26% of Georgia’s total imports.
Georgia’s trade turnover with its long-time largest trading partner Turkey stood at USD 341.8 million in the first quarter of 2016, a 5.3% decline compared to the same period of last year. Georgian exports to Turkey declined by 22.6% y/y to USD 49.9 million and imports were down by 8.8% y/y to USD 291.8 million.
One-off import of medicines made Ireland Georgia’s the second largest trading partner with USD 209.7 million, but after excluding these one-off imports, Turkey is followed by Russia with USD 185 million trade turnover in the first quarter of 2016, a 8.7% y/y increase.
Exports to Russia increased 41.5% y/y to USD 38.5 million and imports were up 2.5% y/y to USD 146.5 million in the first three months of this year.
Russia is followed by China with trade turnover of USD 168.7 million in the first quarter of 2016, a 12.1% y/y decline.
Georgia’s exports to China more than doubled to USD 49.6 million due to almost 2.5-fold y/y increase in export of copper ores, which stood at 46.3 million in the first three months of 2016. Imports from China declined 29.3% y/y to USD 119 million.
China is followed by Azerbaijan with USD 160 million trade turnover in the first quarter of 2016, a 25.2% y/y decline. There was 3.5-fold y/y decline in Georgian exports to Azerbaijan to USD 17.7 million in the first three months of 2016. Imports from Azerbaijan were down by 5.5% y/y to USD 142.3 million.
Copper ores and concentrates were on top of the list of exports in the first quarter of 2016 with USD 84.1 million, 37.7% y/y increase; followed by re-export of cars – USD 37.6 million (34.8% y/y decline); hazelnut – 33 million (36.1% y/y decline); ferroalloys – USD 26.79 million (44.4% y/y decline); nitrogen fertilizers – USD 23.2 million (3.2% y/y decline); mineral waters – USD 19.3 million (14.6% y/y decline); wine – USD 19.2 million (23.7% increase); medicines – USD 19 million (24.5% y/y decline); raw or semi-processed gold – USD 17.7 million (40% y/y increase); non-denatured ethyl alcohol and spirits – USD 17.1 million (74.7% increase).
One-off import of donated C hepatitis drug pushed value of imported medicines on top of the list of Georgian imports with USD 259.5 million in the first three months of 2016; followed by hydrocarbons – USD 124.2 million; cars – USD 99.3 million; oil products – USD 93 2 million; copper ores and concentrates – USD 78.5 million; mobile and other wireless phones – USD 26.7 million; cigarettes – USD 20.5 million; structures and parts of structures of iron – USD 18.1 million; power transformers – USD 17.1 million; electricity – USD 14.7 million.